UKOM: March 2023 Digital Market Overview

Posted on Monday 01 May 2023 | UKOM

UKOM's March Digital Market Overview uses data from Ipsos iris to provide a top-line snapshot of the UK population’s online behaviour across pcs, tablets and smartphones

Key insights from UKOM this month include:

  • There is very little change in the list of top organisations and brands by audience between Dec 22 and Mar 23 with the global giants - Meta, Google, Amazon and Microsoft - dominating the top 5.
  • Within the top 20, grocery retailers dropped down the rankings after peaking during the festive period whilst UK government went up due to the end of the tax year.
  •  Aside from sites from UK government and the BBC, newspaper brands made up the remaining British brands in the top 10 with The Sun, The Mirror and Mail Online all reaching around 50% of internet users in March 2023.
  • Despite not being in the top 10 for audience, Tik Tok and Snapchat joined Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp and Instagram for the highest time spent across all devices whilst for tablets video streaming services including Netflix, BBC iPlayer and ITVX ranked highly.
  • After the retail category peaked in December, in March people were searching for holidays and houses. Rightmove was the strongest performer: 15.6 million adults visited the site or app in March - 3.4 million more than in December. In the travel category (+3.4m), Tripadvisor (+3.2m) and Airbnb (+2.5m) added the most audience.
  • Another category which did well in March was the automotive category. SMMT recently stated that UK car sales rose by a quarter y-o-y after a shortage of chips and in March, Ipsos Iris data showed 7.5 million people looked at sites from automotive brands – an increase of 1.7 million or 31% compared to December.  
  • After doing well during the World Cup, the sports category suffered the biggest audience losses but at the sub-category level there were some clear winners. Although football was down by 4.7 million, 7.6 million sought online content on rugby (up by 3.7 million) due to the Six Nations and 5.9 million visited sites within the motorsport category (up by 3.3 million) following the launch of the F1 season.
  • Open AI continued its dramatic growth due to ChatGPT. In March, 3.8 million people visited the brand online, compared to only 1.3 million in December. The audience profile remains highly skewed towards under 34s, males and students.
  • Vinted is another online brand which is going from strength to strength as people search and sell pre-loved items online – its audience grew from 6.9 million in December to 8.7 million in March.
  • Gary Lineker’s Twitter controversy drove audiences to the BBC iPlayer mobile app, particularly on the Sunday after the MOTD without Lineker was broadcast (12/3) and the Sunday after his return (19/3).
  • Interestingly, campaigns from major newspapers appeared to drive audiences to online petition websites. On the day the Mirror encouraged people to sign a petition to reinstate Lineker, over 200,000 people had visited the 38 Degrees website where the newspaper had directed them. Similarly, a campaign by the Independent to block Boris Johnson giving his father a Knighthood resulted in huge uplifts on – nearly 700,000 people visited the site on the day of the article, 7th March, compared to 2-300,000 on other days that week.  

You can find more information on Ipsos iris here

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